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taxol side effects

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2001

i'm new to writing, but i've been reading this site for a couple of weeks. i'd just like to know if anyone has had major side effects from taxol. i've been ok through the operation and the first 4 chemos (adr/cy), but this last chemo of taxol seemed to knock me on my butt. my doctor and the nurses led me to believe i'd probably sail right through this, too, but i can't work, i can't sleep and everything hurts. is it the drug or am i just getting to that point in chemo where it gets much harder? i only have 3 more treatments, but at this point i'm thinking this might be doing more harm than good. any opinions would be very much appreciated. thanks!

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Debra,

I'm up so early because this is my third sleepless night just tossing and turning in constant pain in my legs and feet. I have pain meds but realized that I also had a fever so did not take anything last night.Medicine only eases the pain a little.

Read some of the older postings under taxol. This is my second and is worse than the first. I had one node involved and the doctor implied that perhaps these two would be all I'd take.

Good luck. Jean

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2001

i did as you suggested and read some of the back postings. the one that caught my attention was the fda info that said this drug is beneficial to receptor negative cancers. i'm positive.
i'm getting ready to go in to work and meet with the hr people today to take a leave for the remainder of my treatment. it's one less thing to worry over.
thank you for taking the time to write, and anytime you're up at 3am, feel free to email. chances are, i'm up, too. let me know what happens with you. i'll do the same. take care.


Posts: 6
Joined: May 2001

Hi Debra
I too had 4 ac/cy and 4 taxol. The taxol was by far worse to me. I just felt like I couldn't get out of bed. My whole body hurt. I felt like I had a bad case of the flu. Those symptoms usually lasted about a week. You WILL be okay though. Now that it's all over, (I had my last treatment in March), I would do it again. It will be over before you know it. Cindy

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2001

thank you for the info. at least i know i'm not the only one. more to talk to the doctor about next time. take care.

Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi! It seems I am always writing in answer to side effects!! I could write a book on this subject. I will tell you what my onc. told me. He said more of his patients that could not take Taxol but could tolerate its 'first cousin' Taxotere. I was just the opposite. I tolerated Taxol much better. I did have excruciating pain in my legs and back for about 5 days or more--pain usually starting the second or third day afer infusion. I finally got some pain killers that worked called 'Lor-Tabs' prescription only. Finally, I could sleep without walking the floors at 3 a.m. My heart goes out to you cause it is terrible. I had 7 infusions total; and the pain got less as my body adjusted.
If you or anyone else starts running a fever; call your doctor!!!!!! Did you read Shawna's letter about her grandmother? Better to be safe and a pest; than too sick! A fever is something that needs reporting immediately!!!
You all will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Hugs from Brenda

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2001

yes, i read shawana's letter. and up to that point, i'd been hesitant to bother anyone with any strange things that happened. like most women, i suppose, i just figured i'd handle them. i've changed my mind now.
also, when i read that people like you took 7 infusions and i'm only going to have 4, i know this is survivable (if that's a word). thanks for taking the time to write and share. you are in my prayers, also.

Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 2000

Don't give up! The taxol is a standard for treatment for pos. nodes and should be continued for your best possible outcome. Think long term! I also had 4 AC and 4 Taxol. Though I had no nausea with Taxol the joint pain was awful, mostly in my legs and feet! It was at its worst the first time because I didn't expect it and had no Vicodin to take it away. My doc also said I prob would sail through but it was tough. The best thing to do is take a painkiller at the first sign of pain, not wait until it's intolerable. The first week is the worst, then the rest of the time I was ok. Just think only 3 treatments left. I had mine during Christmas and New Year's and I was miserable but tried to just sleep thru the worst days and I was ok. You will be too. Stay strong. Try to get away from work during the bad days so you can just cope with it and not work too. Good luck. You will be fine!

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2001

thank you so much. i've started taking the painkillers and they do help. i just never liked putting anything i didn't have to into my body, but i guess i can forget that now anyway.
today is the first day of my official leave from work. this has been going on since jan., and finally, the stress of work coupled with this illness and 3 daughters and a husband-well something had to give.
next week is second taxol, then only 2 more. thenback to the real chaos-life.
take care and thanks again for the encouragement!!! debbie

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2001

I've been having similar side effects from taxol. Sleeping through the night has been very difficult and a couple of days after treatment I get terrible joint and muscle pains in my legs. My doctor told me to expect tingling in my fingers and toes, but I didn't expect the joint pain. After my second treatment, I've noticed pain also in my jaw, like a toothache. Like you, doctors told me that I would probably sail through taxol. I don't have the intensity of nausea that accompanied the other two drugs but I still have the loss of appetite. I was wondering the same thing as you...has my body had enough of all these drugs? I've got two more treatments and hopefully that'll be it. My concern is that with each treatment the side effects will worsen. I hope not. Try drinking fruit smoothies for energy. And my gyn suggested that marijuana helps with all of the side effects...but of course they can't prescribe or recommend that since it's illegal.

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

My doctor did not say I'd sail through it, just that he thought it would be easier than AC. With AC, I did not have nausea - took Zofran the first three days after treatment-and usually had an appetite, but taxol's pain - day 3 -7 - was expected. The nurse told me I would feel like I'd been run over by a truck.

Speaking of jaw pain - in the same area - I experienced an earache off and on one of the days with taxol #2.

Good Luck to all of us! jean

Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2000

The Taxol gave me alot of leg pain. Vioxx seemed to help. I think also you are to that point in chemo where it takes more out of you. Good luck.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2001

I just had my second treatment of taxotere which I think is closely related to taxol. What a difference from Adria. Try Glutamine for muscle soreness. It may help. I'd love to hear from you if you figure it out

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Do you think the taxotere is easier than the Adriamycin.

I dread the bone and muscle pain whick I know is coming whereas I was never sure if I'd have an easy time with AC or not. One treatment - think it was the third AC - only had itchy eyes the three weeks and a swelling off and on of my lips which looked a little odd!!

And I have an elevated temperature all the while I have the pain of taxol.

It helps to compare notes.

Good Luck, Jean

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Just remembered - the onco nurse said taxotere does not have the pain associated with it - usually - that taxol does.

I've had no experience with it. There is fluid buildup so more cortisone is given ahead of time.

Just an afterthought! Jean

Posts: 26
Joined: Jun 2001

lisaho did you try glutamine and if so how did it work for you? did you find taxol easier than a/c? i have just finished 4 a/c and 4 start taxol soon. thanks, cathy

Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2001

I am on my way to my 4 year checkup this month. I had 4 taxol, surgery and 4 F/A/C. I had severe joint pain, it grew worse with each dose. I think it is from the toxity to the joints. I decided I knew what people with bad arthritis must feel like. I also tended to be more tearful over time. Watched a lot of funny movies and laughed a lot. The good news. It took about a year from the time of my last chemo until I was free of the joint pain. I had a wonderful doctor who continued to tell me to take my iviprofin and that it would get better and he was right. I also turned to exercise and fresh carrot juice. I believe it had a lot to do with my recovery. I believe the carrot juice help remove the toxins from my joints and the exercise definitely rebuilt the muscles around the joints. Things do get better. I thanks God for every wonderful day, you see my mother died from breast cancer.

Eunice Ruby
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

Hi, I've had absolutely no side effects from my first Taxol treatment.  Am I just lucky, or will the side effects kick in as I progress?  What should I expect from the second treatment?  Thank you for any comments.

 (If anyone's confused by when I joined, I joined in 2010 when my daughter had breast cancer.  She's fine now!)

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

Sorry - that you are fighting breast cancer after you witnessed your daughter going thru this journey back in 2010.

For the majority,  chemo side efforts become more intense as treatments progress.  Some have little to no side efforts, while others suffer for months.

chemo.care.com  is a website where you can get a listing of all possible side efforts

Keep us posted --- when possible.

Vicki Sam


Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

Taxol posed a few challenges for me, but I got past them all right.  I had a reaction my final two infusions, but the challenge was remedied and did not require a change of drug or extension of treatment.  (I needed to finish on time due to some plans my husband and I had made, guessing ahead several months.)

I also had breathing problems.  I could breathe all right -- unless I went to catch my breath, inhale deeply, or cough.  Then I had a lot of coughing going on.  My most difficult days were towards the end of it all.  Allergy meds helped a lot with the awful coughing I would have for a few days. Once I was done with chemo, those problems disappeared.

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2016

i had 4 AC treatments and just had #4 of 12 weekly taxol today.  My onc does not recommend dose dense (dd) Taxol because he's found most patients tolerate the lower dose better. They have fewer side effects like less neuropathy which usually recovers, less risk of infection, etc.  I receive anti nausea, Benadryl and only 2mg decadron (steroid) as premed before taxol.  The Benadryl gives me really restless legs that I have to move.  it helps for me to get up and walk around.  

My worst complaint is insomnia. My onc suggested melatonin and Benadryl but I just get restless on Benadryl. taking 10 mg melatonin has helped a lot. I take a good nap after chemo so that a sleepless night doesn't affect me so much the next day. i continua to take melatonin around 8 or 9 every night hoping I get at least 6 hrs sleep. It's tend to wwke frequently but just try to relax and fall back to sleep rather than getting up to read or do anything.  for now, this is working for me but I have 8 more infusions to go. 

Hope this us helpful. Hugs to you!


button2's picture
Posts: 423
Joined: Sep 2014

The problem of insomnia!! How I remember those days. Just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about people not being able to sleep. When I was doing chemo, I could only sleep for about an hour at a time. After it was all over, I spent about 3 months sleeping all the time. I would have an "afternoon nap" and wake up at 9:00 at night and then go back to sleep until morning. I was catching up on all that lost sleep and you will too, ladies!

Things that helped during chemo:

I would leave the TV on all night (low volume). In this way, I could watch something without waking my husband and then drift off again whenever I could. I loved silly reality shows and infomercials. This is not the time for a drama about the Holocaust or similar sad stuff.

I would never get mad at being awake. I would just consider it "rest time" and lie there thinking. I find this helpful today (3yrs later) whenever I can't sleep.

Daytime rest periods whenever possible (on the couch, not bed) and staying in bed from midnight to daylight even if awake.

Doing some form of exercise during the day such as nature walks or yoga.

Avoiding sleep medication. It backfired on me and caused me nightmares.

Chemo doesn't last forever, you'll feel better soon!!!

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2016

I am a very fit 51 year old woman who barely made it through the AC treatment. My inner voice told me not to rush into the taxol phase. We all sign up for chemo and want to get started and finished as quickly as we can. We have more power within us than we give ourselves credit for having. The idea that everyone should have 12 rounds of taxol under their belt is ridiculous. We are all individuals-we need to understand also that big pharmecuetical companies are not in the business of finding a cure. They are in the business of getting people to chase down the next big thing. It concerns me that Taxol is the gold standard and we don't even get offered other options. Every time I sit in a chair it costs 14,000 dollars-it's no wonder the powers that benefit keep it this way.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2016

Taxol is serious business for cancer patients but most importantly the pharmeceutical industry who needs us to rush to the chair 12 times! It's 14,000 everytime someone sits down for an infussion.  It seems as if it's standard operating proceedure for oncologists to tell their patients they will do well on Taxol regardless ofhow well or poorly they did with AC or some other chemo. I passed on it because it left so many of my friends with permanent neuropathy. I did the AC and I will do the Five years of hormone therapy. Additionally, I will eat a healthy plant based diet and excersize.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2017

7 years ago I had AC Chemo. It was so hard for me, Neutripinea and Pneumosistic pneumonia....Maybe having MS was some of the problem . This time around Mastectomy with tram flap , which was not too bad. Don't get me wrong~big

surgery  but OnQ local pain therapy and Tylenol took care of the pain. NOW I start 12 weeks of Taxol with herceptin every 3. I know we all get different symptoms. Than you for all the input. I feel ready . I'll be checking in . 


Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2017

<p>Just finished up my first routine of chemo, starting on Taxol this week. Did very well through most of the 4 treatments, but this last one kicked me down. Today is the first day I have felt like moving around, never been so tired in my life. I noticed that some of you only have a few Taxol treatments coming up, my doctor has scheduled 12 weekly treatments starting this week. My particular b/c is triple negative, which they tell me is a highly aggressive cancer. Do you think this is the reason I have to have that many? I have asked a lot of questions, but guess I forgot about this one, or else I thought it was normal. How do they make you feel? Are you more tired than usual, etc. Curious about what I am facing. Then I am told I have have radiation after this {because of the aggressiveness}.&nbsp; Thanks for all your input, learning a lot.</p>

Apaugh's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: Aug 2016

Because of the neuropothy in my hands and feet they stopped the toxel fo rme.   Not worth losing my feet and hands for.   Moved me on to the Herceptin treatments mixed with the Arimidex and it it tough.

Keep trying the best you can.  Dont beat yourself up over what you cant.  It is your life, your choices.  

Keep us updated as to how your doing.



I Anita's picture
I Anita
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2017

I have had two treatments with Taxol and I can tell you it is powerful!  I had Lymphoma cancer one year ago and whatever chemo drug I was on then was a piece of cake.  For the first few days with Taxol I walked the floor every night, my joints were killing me.  This time my oncologist did not give me the Neulasta injection and that did the trick.  Of course we have to watch my blood to make sure my levels stay in the safe zone. Good luck to everyone who is on this journey.

Posts: 3659
Joined: Aug 2009

For me - 4 DD A/C neoadjuvant had not been bad at all - did not slow me down at all.  I had Neulasta with it but had no issues of pain - just went to sleep 2 hours after injection for 2 hours.  That was all.

Taxol was not as 'nice'. I was utterly and completely EXHAUSTED the entire time.  Basically existing through the adjuvant 12 weekly Taxol either in bed or on the couch in front of the TV.  During that time I did develope some other issues.  (Never had any neuropathy or pain or nausea.)  Temperature became an issue - not a fever but keeping it up.  (Did hit 94) Also 1/2 way through my K (potassium) level plummeted and LE (LympEdema) developed.  Still almost 8 yrs later, I still deal with lower than 'normal' temperature, have to take K to keep level up to 'normal' and deal with LE as, of course, once LE developes it has to be dealt with 'forever'.

As far as I am concerned - small enough issues to deal with when my neoadjuant and adjuvant chemo (rads too) IF 'they' hadn't done their 'job', I wouldn't still be here now living and loving every day I am blessed to have.

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